Convention Member Curtis Bates

Convention Member
Born on March 8, 1806, in Connecticut. Mr. Bates went with his family to Trumbull County, Ohio, when he was three years old. There he passed his youth and early manhood, and began the practice of law. Soon after commencing practice, he was elected State Senator, as a Democrat, but his opponent contested the election, when it was shown that he was ineligible to the office, being less than twenty-five years old. During the contest, however, he became eligible, was re-nominated, and elected by nearly a unanimous vote. He came to Iowa City in 1841, and opened a law office. In 1846, he represented Johnson County in the second convention to form a state constitution, that adopted by the first convention having been rejected by the people. While at Iowa City, he was admitted to the Polk County Bar in 1849, became interested in Fort Des Moines, and resolved to establish a newspaper there. He entered into an agreement with Barlow Granger to take and carry into effect the project, the Judge to become responsible financially therefore. The press and material were hauled from Iowa City on wagons, and July 24, 1849, the first issue of the Iowa Star, the first newspaper in the town, was made. The Judge was a politician - not an office seeker - as well as a lawyer. The air was full of politics. In 1855, Judge Bates came to Des Moines and was a candidate before the Democratic Convention for Judge of the District Court, against McFarland, who served out the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge Casady. At the convention, a fellow turned up who claimed to represent King County, up where Sac County was, which existed only in expectation. As the contest was very close and every vote counted, he was seated, voted for McFarland, giving him one majority, and he was declared the nominee. In 1855, the Judge, having tired of holding the bag to feed and sustain the impecunious Star, disposed of it, and in 1861, his health failing, retired from law practice and devoted his time to the care of his large property holdings. In 1857, Judge Bates married Miss Sarah Spicer Newton. In 1875, the Judge was elected Alderman from the Second Ward, and served one term. Socially, the Judge was eminent for his virtues, integrity in business affairs, and fidelity in friendship, purity of life, and loyalty to the home of his adoption. Whatever was to the betterment of civic life received his hearty support. Religiously, he was not the member of any denominational church, yet he was a regular attendant at the services of Father Bird so long as that good man was able to preach, and subsequently attended the Presbyterian Church. His creed was the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man. He died on May 12, 1879, and is buried at Woodland Cemetery Des Moines, Iowa.